FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: PIT 31, TEN 13 (Line: PIT by 5.5)

Players to Watch: Kendall Wright, Rashard Mendenhall

The 2-2 Steelers head to Tennessee looking for their first road win and the 1-4 Titans have only their freak win over the Lions to keep them from the cellar where they belong. The Steelers won 38-17 when the Titans were the visitors last season. This is the Thursday night game and that should keep the Steelers motivated.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN ----- 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN ----- 16 CIN -----
8 WAS ----- 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 280,3
WR Antonio Brown 7-90
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 2-30
TE Heath Miller 4-50,2
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers barely nipped the Eagles last week and Ben Roethlisberger fell from his normal high yardage and multiple passing scores to only 207 yards and no touchdowns. But his last road game resulted in 384 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders in Oakland. The return of Rashard Mendenhall provided a spark top the rushing effort but nothing so big as to detract from what this passing offense intends to do each week. If anything, adding any success running the ball will only help the passing effort since defenses have had no reason to concern themselves with the run when they play the Steelers.

Mendenhall is one of the several running backs returning from a torn ACL who apparently have healed completely and without any signs of lingering problems. In his first action since last year, Mendenhall ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and even added two catches for 20 yards. And that came against a normally good Philly rush defense. Playing at home is a bit of a help but overall the results were very encouraging for an offense that has seen nearly no rushing success from Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman who have combined for just one touchdown over the first three games. This will remain a committee backfield of sorts and a reality is that Mendenhall is not likely to get a heavy rushing load in this pass-first offense. But he is new to the 2012 fantasy starters and so far has been rather impressive.

Heath Miller scored in each of the first three games including twice in Oakland but finally posted a low-key effort when he only turned in four catches for 41 yards versus the Eagles. He still remains the leading scorer for the Steelers and a favorite for Roethlisberger.

Mike Wallace had a problem holding onto the ball and dropped three passes last week including one potential long-gainer. He ended with just two receptions for 17 yards after having scored in each of the first three weeks and posted 123 yards on the Raiders. Antonio Brown has been far more consistent and has remained between 74 and 87 yards every week with just one touchdown that came, of course, against the Raiders. Last week he was pitted against Nnamdi Asomugha and still turned in seven receptions for 86 yards.

No reason to overanalyze here. The Titans have never allowed less than 30 points to any opponent and yet just one was able to score more than 14 points. That means the Steelers get a nice stats day so long as they remain motivated.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 11 18 9 8 13 27
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 26 26 18 32 31 27

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT TB 0000024020 ***
While Big Ben's numbers haven't been overly fantasy friendly thus far, he should enjoy this matchup with a Bucs D that has held only Austin Davis in check thus far this season.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT TB 9014300000 ***
Bell has topped 100 combo yards in all three games and should extend that run against an undermanned Tampa Bay defense that hasn't seen a back of his caliber yet this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB LeGarrette Blount, PIT TB 201000000 **
Unlikely that Blount is able to churn out another 100-yard game like he did last week against Carolina. However, after seeing two different Falcons backs score on the Bucs last week it wouldn't be at all surprising if he was able to find the end zone while carrying out his goal line and change-of-pace duties.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Antonio Brown, PIT TB 0071001000 ****
The Bucs couldn't stop Kelvin Benjamin or Julio Jones; unlikely they'll find a way to keep Brown from his appointed rounds.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Brown, PIT TB 002301000 ***
Brown remains a bit player in this offense, with no compelling trends or evidence to suggest he warrants consideration over the Steelers' passing game mainstays.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT TB 005600000 ***
It's not an overly compelling matchup for secondary receivers, though Wheaton is seeing more targets than other WR2s the Bucs have faced so he may be able to turn those looks into production.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Heath Miller, PIT TB 004400000 ***
If you're into 50 yards, Miller's your guy. If you want more from your fantasy tight end, best look elsewhere.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT TB 1144 ****
Multiple field goals in every game this season make Suisham a fantasy regular; doesn't hurt that the Bucs just gave up 56 points, either.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN 7-30 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Shonn Greene 60
RB Dexter McCluster
WR Derek Hagan 2-30
WR Nate Washington 5-50
WR Kendall Wright 7-60
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: It just keeps getting worse for the Titans. Last week without Jake Locker, the Titans hit a season low with only seven points scored despite allowing 30 points or more in every game. The schedule has been no friend and is not again this week but it gets slightly better in the second half of the season. The switch to Matt Hasselbeck had little results when he only passed for 200 yards and one score in Minnesota. After five weeks, this offense only has a total of seven touchdowns and a few of those came in trash time of decided games.

Chris Johnson somehow rang up 141 yards on 25 runs in Houston where they clearly did not care when he would run a draw in the second half when the Titans were being pummeled and needed to throw. Last week Johnson was back to normal when he only gained 25 yards on 15 runs.

Javon Ringer is out for up to six weeks with a torn MCL so there is no one else to turn to even if they wanted. Even with his one big game, Johnson only has 3.0 yards per carry. Take that away it is dives to 1.4 yards per run. There is just no reason to assume he is going to have a good game in any given week. Much less against the Steelers.

Jared Cook scored in two of the last three weeks which is big on a team with so little success passing. Cook ends with three or four catches per week with moderate yardage at best. He still remains below the fantasy radar.

Kenny Britt returned last week to post two receptions for 23 yards but his ankle is still not completely healed. He is expected to play in this game though he may be on a snap count with limited work. Nate Washington had early success and scored in the first two home games but has been shut down in every road venue. He'll need to step again at home this week for the Titans to remain in the game for any length of time. Kendall Wright comes off a career high nine catches for 66 yards in Minnesota and the rookie has been getting over eight passes per game since week two, He has already become the primary wideout for the Titans though the title so far brings only two touchdowns so far and even less respect. Wright has been a bright spot on a dull team.

The offense has been sluggish at best and needs for the opponent to stop caring and allow trash time and yardage. That is not likely to happen on Thursday night football against the Steelers. There is nothing on this team that suggests a trap game is in the making and the Steelers are just 2-2 so need every win.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 19 31 17 4 27 21
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 13 7 12 23 5 9

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Charlie Whitehurst, TEN @IND 0000021012 *
No writeup available
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jake Locker, TEN @IND 00000000 *
Locker disappointed the last time he had a favorable matchup, and Indy isn't necessarily a favorable matchup; their numbers have been padded by Peyton Manning, Nick Foles and garbage-time Blake Bortles. You're bound to find better fantasy help elsewhere.
Update: Locker was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and only worked on a limited basis Friday. Officially he's questionable, but fantasy owners can rule him out prior to any pregame deactivation.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @IND 3001100000 ***
To the surprise of no one, Sankey was far more productive than Shonn Greene when given similar touches last week. However, best wait until the Titans' backfield roles are more clearly delineated and the matchup is more favorable before trusting the Bishop with a starting fantasy gig.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @IND 300000000 ***
Montee Ball and LeSean McCoy were rendered ordinary by the Colts' run D; no reason to think Greene will fare better.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @IND 003500000 ***
You can't bank on the wildly inconsistent Hunter for... well, anything at this juncture.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @IND 004500000 ***
Wright's a volume guy, but even high volume targets haven't been the key to fantasy success against Indy: four receivers each targeted double-digit times have amassed just 20 catches, 207 yards and two TDs. It's better than not being frequently targeted, but it's no guarantee.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @IND 006400000 **
Highly targeted, and Indy has struggled to defend talented tight ends like Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Keep tabs on Walker's injury status; if he's healthy, he's a viable fantasy option.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @IND 2211 ****
Succop has five total points the past two games; you can do better elsewhere.

WEEK 6
2012
PIT at TEN (THU) *DET at PHI *MIN at WAS *STL at MIA
BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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